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If you have an elderly relative who has Alzheimer’s disease, you may worry about developing the disease in your golden years. While Alzheimer’s is more common in older individuals, between 5% and 6% of Alzheimer’s patients experience debilitating symptoms earlier in life.

When Alzheimer’s disease develops before a person’s 65th birthday, medical professionals describe the condition as early-onset Alzheimer’s. Most individuals who develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease do so between the ages of 30 and 60.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease

Regardless of a person’s age, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition that affects memory and critical thinking. The disease often affects a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning or bathing. Sadly, doctors are currently unable either to cure Alzheimer’s disease or reverse its progression.

SSDI benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are available to individuals who have both a sufficient number of work credits and a qualifying disability. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is on the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance List. Accordingly, by definition, early-onset Alzheimer’s meets the SSA’s definition of “disability” for purposes of qualifying for SSDI benefits.


When applying for SSDI benefits, you must carefully document your Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Clinical records are good evidence. Likewise, you may want to submit a daily activities report to show how your Alzheimer’s progression affects your ability to work. Your Clinical Dementia Rating may also be helpful.

While early-onset Alzheimer’s disease may make it impossible for you to work and support your family, you probably do not have to worry about becoming penniless. Ultimately, with the right diagnosis and documentation, you likely have a good chance of receiving SSDI benefits.

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